Frazier’s Continued Breakout

Pittsburgh Pirates UT Adam Frazier has bounced around a ton this year, playing in the field at left field, second base, third base, shortstop and even served as a designated hitter in one game.

He’s also knocked around in the batting order, with starring roles at the leadoff position and the number eight spot, with cameos at second and ninth.

With all that variance, the one aspect of Frazier’s play that has been invariable has been his bat. Going into today, Frazier carries a .308/.372/.487 slashline, one that is eerily similar to his .301/.356/.411 line posted last season.

Going into the season, we posited that Frazier may already be a better version of Josh Harrison, the last Pittsburgh Pirates position player to come out of nowhere as a utility player. In that piece, we pointed out that Frazier was not fooled by offspeed pitches in his rookie campaign, and that has held steady thus far in his followup season.

Going into today, Frazier has taken 40.4 percent of offspeed pitches for balls. He has whiffed just three times in those 62 pitches. If we project that out over a full season, it becomes clear that Frazier will replicate – and likely, better his performance against the slower stuff. That is a fantastic foundation for a young player to find success.

Having already posted a 0.2 fWAR, it would be a safe bet to pencil Frazier in to surpass the 0.7 fWAR he put up in 2016.

With all that being said, will Frazier’s continued success stick around for awhile?

The Case For Sustainability

  • Frazier’s strikeout and walk rates are eerily similar year-over-year. In 2016, he walked and struck out at a 7.5 and 16.3 percent rate, respectively. For 2017, those figures come in at 7.0 and …16.3 percent.
  • The 25 year-old has increased both his on-base percentage and slugging in the season’s first 12 games.
  • Frazier is clearly earning more of Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle‘s trust with each and every day.

The Case Against Sustainability

  • Frazier was aided by BABIP (batting average on balls in play) in 2016 with a .353 rate. He carries a BABIP of .355 going into tonight’s game. That will¬†undoubtedly¬†fall, especially with Frazier on pace to put up far more plate appearances than he did last year.
  • The utilityman’s line drive rate has hit a sharp fall thus far, down to 21.9 percent from 33.1 percetn last year.
  • The same goes for his hard hit percentage. After posing a 31.4 percent rate in 2016, that figure has fallen to 25 percent.

SUSTAINABILITY RATING: 8/10

We’ll wrap up this installment with a look at one of the enigmas in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ everyday lineup.

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Jason Rollison

Jason Rollison has been analyzing baseball and the Pirates in one way or another for 4+ years.

Jason’s previous stops include rumbunter.com, Pittsburgh Sporting News, Call To The Pen and several print publications. He also covers the State College Spikes for the Centre County Gazette (State College, PA)

When it comes to analyzing baseball, he likes to take a middle-of-the-road approach, with one foot on the analytics side of the fence and the other on the old-school side. Having said that, he is a sucker for pitchf/x. Jason has appeared as a phone-in and in-studio guests in numerous outlets, including Trib Live Radio and 93.7 The Fan (CBS Sports Radio)